What Vintage is Your Caravan, My Cool Caravan Interview with Chris Haddon
Having a caravan and the vehicle to tow it gives you a sense of freedom, you can just decide to get up and go as long as your destination has a campground nearby.
Besides the most up to date models, Vintage caravans are in the limelight and not just as 'museum' pieces but as vehicles that people actually use, whether for work or leisure.
A book by Jane Field-Lewis and Chris Haddon titled My Cool Caravan (photographs by Hilary Walker) published by Anova Books is making a big splash in the UK and beyond.
I thought it made for a perfect mid-summer theme and was happy that Chris Haddon agreed to a short interview.
Here's what rolled off my tongue and Chris answers.
Q: Chris, Did 'My Cool Caravan' get rolling with the website or was the book first?
The website was something we always had in mind. When the book was green lighted, it pushed us to get the website live in order to build a community of enthusiasts.
Q: After our initial contact, I realized that your daily job is at Media Pie, was your day job connected to the book in some way since you designed sites like Kiss My Airstream?
To be able to fuse a hobby with work is great . When I came across Kiss My Airstream it was too great an opportunity to miss.
Q: Some people renovate vintage caravans to fit modern needs (computers, etc), did you ever work in a caravan?
I have always have a passion for Airstreams so when I needed a home office from which to run my business an Airstream seemed logical (it is in the book). I happily work in there all day and night when deadlines dictate.
Q: How did you find the vehicles featured in the book?
Through a lot of research and referrals, we posted messages in magazines and on forums asking for people to submit their 'cool caravans' for consideration. For some of the content it was just being in the right place at the right time. Franks caravan would not have been included if it was not for someone mentioning a comment about an unusual caravan made of aircraft parts.
Q: Did you start the book project with Jane Field-Lewis first and bring photographer Hilary Walker aboard later? How did you and Jane share the book writing duties?Jane and I have known each other for about three years now. We met while caravanning at a site in Sussex. We both had unusual caravans, Jane's being an 80's Monza and mine an Airstream. So we got chatting and kept in touch. A neighbor of Jane is a book agent and she told Jane to do a book proposal to submit to publishers - the rest is history. Once we got the book deal, Jane spoke with Hilary who she had worked with before and Hilary jumped at the opportunity - she was a real asset and put her heart and soul into the book.
I worked on locating the caravans, arranging the shoots and locations etc. Jane then styled the caravans (natural choice as she is a stylist) and Hilary took the photos. The writing was done in tandem with Jane.
Q: Is there a thriving Vintage Caravan online community in the UK? Are there major events where aficionados come and show their gems?
Very much so. The media has picked up on 'cool caravanning' which is in part why the book is doing so well. The economic and environmental issues have also helped. There are shows throughout the UK but the biggest media interest will be at Vintage At Goodwood which we are attending. We have arranged for 40 cool caravans to be on display for the weekend - the event looks like it's going to be a massive success. Vintage fashion, music, food, art and more in one place!
Q: Besides the renovation side, do people share recipes and tips for the caravan crowd in the same way that there are recipes and tips for the camping buffs?
Yes, the community we have gathered on Facebook for example really help each other out. So if someone has a problem or question an answer is only a few clicks away.
Q: Outside the UK, which countries show the most enthusiasm for this 'vintage caravan' scene?
To be honest all countries have 'Cool caravan' fans from Holland to Japan, Australia to America - everyone seems to be catching onto the trend
Q: Has your book 'My Cool Caravan' garnered interest beyond the 'vintage' fans themselves? In that case what attracts readers most?
Yes, this is one of things that has surprised us the most. We are selling the books to interior designers, historians and pretty much everyone in between. We wanted to get the balance of the book just right - not too technical but not too design oriented and the personal stories helped everyone relate to the reason why someone chooses vintage over new.
Q: If you were do take one of the vehicles showcased in your book on a trip, which one would you choose and where would you go?
Tough one… I would have to say a 'Canned Ham' and the trip would be across America and Canada but with no deadline on reaching the destination.
You can find photos, updates, events via My Cool Caravan website
I'll try to tackle 'Camping Recipes' sometimes in August